Praise for VERSES OF THE DEAD
"Multifaceted and complex. Legendary. Working together, Preston and Child are masters at crafting a story that goes beyond a simple mystery or thriller...Readers unfamiliar with Pendergast will find this novel a fantastic launch point. He's a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and the story reads like classic literature." Associated Press
"Doug Preston and Lincoln Child's master detective A.X.L. Pendergast is every bit the modern equivalent of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. And his investigative skills have never been sharper than in the altogether brilliant Verses for the Dead...A throwback to classic crime fiction while maintaining a sharp, postmodern edge." Providence Journal
Sanibel and Captiva Islands on the Florida Gulf Coast are known for their beauty and the abundance of beautiful seashells that wash up on the pristine beaches. When nearly 100 severed feet clad in identical shoes begin washing up on the beaches, the FBI calls in Special Agent Pendergast. A joint task force is quickly gathered, with the Coast Guard in charge. The case is fraught with infighting and jurisdictional conflicts. Pendergast quietly conducts his own investigation but realizes too late that there is a mole in the task force passing information to the bad guys, placing Pendergast and his colleagues, including junior agent Coldmoon, in danger. The authors remain true to their established characters, but the development of the peripheral characters is a little flat and stereotypical. VERDICT Preston and Child's latest could be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Recommended for mystery readers who enjoy bizarre twists.—Cynde Suite, Bartow Cty. Lib. Syst., Adairsville, GA
FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).
Imagine Florida beachcombers' shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot's amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where "something terrible was happening" in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is "a most baffling case indeed" for the brilliant Pendergast, but it's the type of problem he thrives on. He's hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he's part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his "extraordinarily beautiful," smart, and sarcastic young "ward" who has "eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing." Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and "every inch a Fed." Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.
Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.